DEAR SUSAN: Your column on being left out of a couple's world has made me respond to an advice columnist for the first time in my life. The problem is much bigger than you seem to realize. When I was part of a couple, we did a lot of socializing. I still have the same friends now but am not invited when they go to dinner, shows, etc. (I've been a "single" for 20 years, after a 20-year marriage.) Parties and picnics are no problem, but they don't seem to want a fifth wheel at most of their functions. And I tell you, I miss having dinner at a nice restaurant and would really like to be included in their dinner plans, at least occasionally. After all these years of being slighted, my advice to other single women is to learn to live with it. Entertain your friends at home whenever possible, and join in when asked. And be content being alone the rest of the time. — From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: How can anyone be content until she's exhausted the alternatives? Maybe not you, but many partnerless women need my gentle nudge to get out there — into the world beyond their living rooms — and make lives for themselves, as they are and as the women they have become since the end of their coupled relationships. (I'm not excluding the male from this diatribe, not for one second; but men seem to have an easier time of being included in a social event.) Sad but true, the lone male is a catch and the solo woman a burden. So we females are left to our own devices when we become uncoupled — a challenge and a joyful freedom. Now we're able to travel (possibly in groups, if that's your preference), to join the clubs we've been eyeing wistfully while cozily nestled in a love nest, to explore the world without a buffer. That's the main attraction of solo time — being on your own. That solo time has come at last, and the least of it is the "maybe yes, maybe no" of friends' whims when it comes to including you in their two-by-two life. Which will it be, single lady? Hallelujah chorus or sob sister? It's your call.
DEAR SUSAN: I recently divorced, and at the present time, I have no desire to have a relationship with another man. The problem? I have a fairly new job and am extremely attracted to the scent of my boss. Not his cologne — he doesn't wear any — just his scent. Now, I don't want to get involved with him; as I said, I'm divorced and not ready to date, and he's happily married. I don't think we'd even hit it off, because our lifestyles and interests are so different. In all honesty, I'm not even particularly attracted to the man himself. I haven't let on that his scent drives me crazy, but we have to work closely together at times, and I find that I have a hard time focusing on the task at hand. I actually find myself daydreaming about sex (not with him but in general) whenever he comes close to me. What on earth can I do to train myself to ignore this feeling? I don't want to quit my job, because I love the company and the work, but I'm getting to the point where I have love/hate reactions to close encounters with the man. Help! — From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: You've pretty well boxed yourself into an impossible situation, dear lady, but there's still one possibility if you're really serious about getting out of this man's path. Ask to be transferred to another floor. When asked for the reason, explain that you love the company but need to learn another skill because you're bored. You can quite possibly come up with a better reason, but I leave that to your steamy imagination. One final suggestion: Before asking for a transfer, ask some of your gal friends over for a potluck dinner and a gabfest. Make your problem the centerpiece of the discussion, and write down their comments. They know you better than I do and can probably come up with some red-hot (and hilarious) advice. I saw Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman," but the male counterpart in your life has me stumped. Good luck.
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